"About Us" doesn't have to be all "Ugh."

Julie Vollenweider

Thinking back to my middle school years, if given the choice to hang out with someone who looked cool -- and was always saying things like, “Dude, I am so awesome. Look at how awesome I am,” I would have been all, “Ugh.”

However, if given the chance to hang out with someone who just was cool –- how they looked and acted, what they said –- I would have been all “Ohmigod, let’s totally hang out!”

(Okay, this never happened to me, but that’s beside the point.)

This concept still applies ...  especially to the “About Us” section of a website. No matter how beautifully designed, if a site's voice doesn't ring true, it's easy to spot an “ugh.”

Rather than using this section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching “About Us” like a magazine’s Editor Letter.

Following this logic, “About Us” should:

  • Match the tone and voice of the entire website, while addressing Who / What / Why.
  • Give a good indication of what to expect on the rest of the site.
  • In my middle school scenario – just be cool.

This Editor's Note from Travel + Leisure really captures this concept:

We call ourselves travel missionaries at this magazine.

The mission is to get our readers out to experience the world, with all its eye-opening, mind-expanding, and life-enhancing possibilities. But at this moment it’s hard to focus on destinations and trip-planning strategies without addressing the economic problems that travel is facing …

Showcasing travel at home and abroad is what we do in the pages of Travel + Leisure, with stories about alluring destinations from Alaska to the Basque Country of France, to name just two in this issue. Our focus remains on providing T+L readers with the inspiration and information they need to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Although this excerpt appeared in the print version of the magazine, with some slight modifications, this could easily populate an “About Us” section online. It's current, specific, descriptive and accurately captures the spirit of the publication.

A bit of advice? Don't announce your awesomeness in “About Us” and expect to be cool forever. Even if your site doesn't overhaul content as frequently as a magazine -- consider frequently updating “About Us” to accurately match your evolving online presence.